Monday, March 30, 2009

Elizabeth Pepin

Everywhere I click online at the moment, seems to bring me back to the same name, Elizabeth Pepin. She's created a series of photographs, called Waterwomen, which questions the stereotypes of women who surf.

But instead of creating my own little blurb about her, I'm just going to give you some of the links to interviews and articles relating back to her Waterwomen series that I think are interesting.

Here are her Waterwomen images online.

Here are her photos and an interview on Jettygirl.

And here is another smart profile.

She also made a film (which I am still yet to see!) called One Winter Story about Sarah Gerhardt.

And you know what..? I don't actually reckon Nat would have a problem with any of this at all!

Someone sort that woman out!!

Friends of mine were talking to an uncle on the beach the other day and, during the course of the conversation, mentioned me and the things I tend to write about. And look, I don't know exactly what they said, but my girlfriend was shocked when the elderly gent (that I've never met) got a little riled at my ideas and affirmed in no uncertain terms that my opinions in no way dovetailed with his and suggested that,

She should talk to Nat Young. He'd sort her out!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! HA! HA! HA!!!!

I nearly broke a rib laughing when she told me.

And I'm not sure which I find funnier - the idea that I need 'sorting out' or the suggestion that Nat's the man to do it!!

My friend was really annoyed at his reaction and gave him a serve back for his trouble. As she walked away Old Mate Uncle turned to her boyfriend and berated him,

I wish you'd give me warning when she's gonna go off like that!

Wow! What a keeper!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My old friend, Albert Einstein

Years ago, I bought a postcard of Albert Einstein, and it has lived on my various walls ever since. I don't know how it has remained such a part of my days, but somehow it always manages to survive each move and make it intact to the next place, and the next, and the next...

Apparently, it was his response to a photographer's request for a smile and it makes me laugh and is a reminder not to take myself too seriously...

Inspiration is one of those mysterious and exciting things that defies explanation and can be found in the most unusual places. Like a postcard.

Anyway, as of this morning Albert has a new home...

He now sits amongst my newer postcard acquisitions, photos of my nieces and nephews, and my (highly distracting) outlook over the pool and the river.

Welcome, Albert.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jim Devevan - drawing lines in the sand

I was watching Thread at home last night while I made dinner (Spanakopita - YUM!)...

Well, actually, I was skipping through most of it to get to the section below. And yeah, I know you've probably seen this too, but watch it again. It's rad.

Jim Denevan's creations are a-ma-zing! I mean, I struggle to draw a circle freehand on a piece of paper - the two ends never quite seem to link up when I do it - but he makes such enormous scale works on sand!! Sigh. And the patience required to make such beautiful and such momentary art is admirable.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Surfing Sucks: Don't Try It


I just watched this short film called Surfing Sucks: Don't Try It over at I Just Surf (thanks!)...

Surfing Sucks: Don't Try It from Tyler Capehart on Vimeo.

Yeah, some of it is a little cliche, but mostly I think it's pretty cool. There's a lot of ideas in there too...

The environmental issues, and the resulting conflicts of interest between tourism and surfers seem to dovetail and are shown as being complex. Because surfing communities do have complex relationships to places. Especially when it comes to industry and employment and the environment.

And I thought it was interesting when the lady with the short, blonde hair (I didn't get her name - sorry!) explains how the opening of the surf shop introduced "true surfing culture" to Tybee Island. Is there such a thing? Is there "true" surfing culture? The commercial interests might say differently, but I don't reckon there is. My friends have loads of different ways that they surf - different boards, different styles, different heroes, different breaks, different goals, different fashion, different histories. Screw the idea of a 'true' version of surfing, because it would sure as hell exclude me from it's telling.

Anyway, good one Tyler Capehart!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hurling sand

Sometimes, when I'm bored, or procrastinating, and need something to laugh at I go and have a look over the RealSurf forums. I think they're generally pretty lame to be perfectly honest, but they always give me something to mull over as I sit and stare out the window at the river.

I went over there yesterday and found a couple of posts (this one, and this one) that really made me laugh. They're about 'girls' being bullies in the water. SO? I reckon it's funny how upset guys get when a woman tells them off or acts aggressive in the water. Yeah, woman can be nightmares too - pushy, selfish, threatening and mean - but it seems to stand out more and be more controversial for some reason...

Sometimes I speak up when someone is being a dick in the surf, 1) because they're being a dick and 2) because I know how annoyed the dude will get; not only is he being told off, but he's being told off by a chick! Oh, the humanity! Or should that be, the humility? Usually I can let it go so I don't do it a lot and I don't usually yell, but sometimes, sometimes, I do.

I yelled at a Hero on the weekend actually. He was being a pig and was sitting there talking himself up, all the while paddling to everyone's inside and taking whatever he wanted. His mate was benefiting too as Hero man was calling him into waves, like some kind of wave distributor. After he'd done it to me a billion times, and after he snaked me on yet another wave, I cracked...

He paddled back out and straight into a wave that I was paddling for. Fuck him, I decided. I was on the wave and up well before him, but he got up and whistled at me to get off. WHISTLED AT ME! I didn't. He didn't either. The break was busy and it ended up a not very safe situation and I'm not really in the business of hurting other people, or myself.

Afterwards, I was livid. I was shaking and angry and over it. I'd seen him once before at another spot in the area, doing the same thing over and over. And I was angry because I knew that this was ridiculous, that this was going to be a stupid argument and that the consequences would include him consciously making the rest of my day hell. But I felt forced into a corner where I either sat there and took it, stood up to him, or started behaving like he was, snaking and dropping in and having little regard for the other people there. This guy'd had plenty of waves, so what was the problem with me getting one?

I paddled back out, angry. His mate watched me and as I got close he told me to,

"Give it to him."

I was a bit surprised that his mate had said that - like I needed his permission- but it fuelled my fury that even the Hero's friend saw what an arse he was.

So I did. Give it to him that is. I pointed out what a 'legend' he is and that paddling to my inside every time doesn't make the next wave his and who made him the allocator of waves anyway? I called him a fuckwit and an arsehole. He didn't say much. I was so angry. I was shaking and could feel frustrated tears welling (but I refused to let them fall - can you imagine!).

He told me he didn't have to listen to this and pissed off. Good.

Then it got funny...

As I sat with shaking hands, his mate looked at me and concurred that the guy is a louse,

"He gets like that. Just drop in on him, that's what I do. Don't worry about it."

The Hero heard his friend bitching him out from across the break and yelled back,

"I can hear you, you know. Stop talkin' about me like that!"

"Yeah, well, stop eavesdropping," his mate laughed.

Hahaha. Sigh.

And yeah, I'm pretty sure that he went about thinking 'what a psycho she is' and 'what right did she have' and 'what a bitch she is' and 'she doesn't even surf good' and 'she's probably got her period' all those other usual pathetic stereotypical responses that come out of these situations, but he certainly backed off in his behaviour after that.

Maybe the chaps over at RealSurf would have considered me to be a bully too, but I see it a bit differently - I wasn't threatening him, I wasn't putting him in any harm, I wasn't trying to ruin his day. But I was taking a stand. Slightly inappropriate - and please don't think that I'm in any way proud of my behaviour - but a stand nonetheless. Because I don't care how well someone surfs (and he didn't surf well by the way) and I don't care how deep you take off, because that's not high on my list of criteria for giving respect. Nor for letting you get away with being a dangerous, selfish tool.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So far in my life, I've never met a man who didn't want to be Maverick from Top Gun. No, no, not Tom Cruise, but Maverick.

And I'm not sure if this says more about me, or the men I've chosen to know.

It might also interest you to know that the same man (Kenny Loggins) who wrote the Top Gun theme song, Danger Zone,

also wrote the theme song to another famous and amazing film about breakin' the rules and doin' things your own way, Footloose.

I'm nothing if not informative!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why me? Didn't the Little Mermaid already cover this ground?

Every time I get in the water lately, sea life appears - schools of fish dawdle beneath me, pods (pods!) of dolphins languish about in my general vicinity, sea birds plunge into the water beside me and large, seaweedy turtles pop up next to my knees to say hello.

I'm beginning to feel like some kind of unintended oceanic Snow White, drawing the animals to me with a flutter of my salty eyelashes and a wriggle of my sunburned toes. Without actually meaning to! (And with mousy brown hair and wearing shorts and with a lower, more gravelly singing voice and carrying much less of the innocent sweetness vibe about her.)

Yeah, I know, that's cool right? And it is. But to be honest, I really wish they wouldn't be so persistent in their presence. I would usually rather that they leave me alone because it makes me nervous when (as with this morning when I surfed by myself out at Suffolk) an impressively sized school of fish congregates beneath me and then begins flashing and splashing about and drawing attention to themselves and to me. Show offs. It just made me look for bigger, darker shapes...
They even nibbled at my toes, which creeped me out no end.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Well said, Sir Mick.

Patience is a virtue that I usually lack in most situations...

And certainly did lack in the surf this morning AND this afternoon. Well, actually, I would say that I managed to appear patient, but on the inside, I was seethingly frustrated and wanted to scream, loudly and often. And my anger, frustration and distaste had a soundtrack that has been ringing in my head since this morning, taunting me but delighting me nonetheless, and which I thought I would share with you, here, in video format.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm currently tired

Just give me two minutes to get changed. But wait for me, Ok?

I snap the boot open and pull out my board, slide the cover off, lie it on the ground. I wrap a towel around my waist, rip off my clothes and tie on some swimmers (new ones too!). A vest? Yeah, why not. Grab a legrope, slam the boot, hide the key and ready...

I run over to his car,

Let's go!

We walk down to the water, chatting and laughing.

The swell is wrapping around the point, breaking behind the rocks and further down the line. The wash is big and the rip is very clearly strong and wide. And it's not that small.

Oh my God! Am I even going to get out?

(Of course I will.)

Haha. Yeah, you might struggle a bit.

Yeah. Haha. Crap.

(I can make it out. I'll just go straight across.)

I've been coming here every day and been going straight across it, Bec.

(No way he's been going across. He's been going out near the rocks. I know that. He's being kind. And supportive. Bless.)

Yeah. That's what I reckon I'll do.

Shit. I haven't been surfing much the past few months - just every few weekends - I've had other stuff going on. My body is tight and stiff and lazy. And weak. And unfit. And I'm not sure if it's up to the challenge of that rip. Screw it - I decide I'll be fine. I know I'll be fine. I look again at the line of people, stringing back towards town but straining towards the horizon as a solid-looking set approaches. Shit.

I attach my legrope to my board and then my ankle,

I'm so unfit! This is going to hurt.

Ha ha! That current looks killer!

We walk together into the water that immediately pulls at my legs, my hips, my waist, trying to sweep me off my feet and drag me under. Whatever. He wades out, chest deep, next to the rocks but I'm not strong enough so this is where we part ways. As soon as I see a break, I lie on my board and paddle. Hard.



This board is still too buoyant for me to duckdive so I move through and over and under waves the way I would with my mal. One wave, two waves, the third sucks the board up and knocks me off. I look at the fourth, beginning to pitch. I decide that I'm definitely getting over the back of that thing. I look at the shoulder and see nothing else and drag myself across the surface and make it over into the clear water of the rip and the paddling masses.


No stopping!

I paddle. I paddle. I paddle...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sunday 4th March 2007 5.50am

Sometimes, things are so beautiful, you can't help but take a picture.

I wish this was how today started!

Monday, March 09, 2009

George Silk, Surfing in Hawaii

George Silk, 1970s, Surfing in Hawaii

Isn't it beautiful!!
What is it about guys named George who take such great photos?

I found it on this site, Pineapple Luv, when I was looking about the interweb this morning. Thanks Pineapple Luv!

This is also ten parts adorable, especially since the little one looks just like my friend Kate's little girl...

Do you see how sweet this is? The baby has a tiny board under her arm! And tiny sandals! And she's walking down to check the surf! Isn't she adorable? And look at her little, fat belly...

Oh, come on!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

From first to last (with little in between) OR Nights in Adolescence OR Exfoliations

At night the sand is cool and soft,

the wash is loud and

the beach is long and lonely;

It’s no place for girls alone,

I’m told.

I move along the shore,


to test myself and my resolve.

In the dark and cold and empty night,

what’s to fear anyway?

I think to myself,

The dark and empty.

But not always. It’s not always.

Parties, with friends,

with rum,

with music.

With parents away.

With “let’s go down to the beach!”


A hand, an arm, a chest,

drag me into phosphorescence,

show me how bright

the water is at night.

A mouth shows me how warm it is as well.


The sand clings to my feet.

To my legs.

To my back.

A hand moves up my thigh and through my skirt.

It finds my skin.

I blush. I move. I’m scared!

And I’m excited.

Another drink.

He pushes harder,

‘Come on’

but I’m not sure now.

I push in the other direction,

A slightly panicked, Stop!

‘What’s the problem?’

In daylight I would run to get away,

angry and laughing

(in the light, you can laugh at this).

But now, arms pull me down

whispered words compel me calm,

and fingers intertwine

pantomiming affection.

The morning breaks bright.

The sand grinds against my skin.

The school bell rings.

We run.

And time moves on...

In the dark

I ride my bike along the breaking tide.

I fall into the waves, cut myself and laugh.

My friend gives me her hand and helps me up.

The blood dries against my leg

as we walk the rest of the way,

pushing our bikes though the soft sand into town,


Another night, another time,

we watch the stars

and discuss the pictures in the moon.

He takes my hand in his.

I think his name is Yann.

It could be Marc.

Does it matter?

I'm bored.

I walk him back

and I go on alone,

ankle deep and cold.

Years later, more drinks,

and I’m a pirate.

The rocks cut my skin,

and the waves crash loudly at my feet.

‘Don’t fall!’

More rum.

More sand.

The lights look far away.

So far away.

‘Want to sit for a minute?’

Why not?

I sit.

The sand clings to my feet.

To my legs.

To my back.

A hand moves up my thigh and through my skirt.

It finds my skin.

I blush. I move. I’m scared!

And I’m excited.

On the beach at night,

nothing really changes.

Only hands.

But it’s still no place for girls.

Not girls alone.

Friday, March 06, 2009

When it comes to the state that loved Joh, you just can never be sure...

Dear Electorate of Beaudesert,

Don't you bloody well dare!

Warmest regards,


But you really have to wonder why Pauline Hanson keeps putting herself up for these horrendous media situations, don't you. Why on earth would anyone want to go through such an experience over and over and over?

It makes me a bit sad. It makes me a bit angry. It makes me very confused.

Do you think she honestly does it because she really believes in all that stuff she says? Do you? I'm not sure. I'm just not quite sure why she continues to step into the media spotlight when it continually goes so wrong for her. Maybe she's a totally self-absorbed, bombastic, narcissistic, naive, resilient but rather pathetic woman who can only value herself by the number of newspaper columns she is mentioned in?


I get so confused, I really, really do. If only she'd left it all on a high with her stint on Dancing With The Stars...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Count me in!

Although I don't believe in any God sitting above humankind in some kind of perpetual and hypocritical system of judgement, I still grew up in Australia where Christian ideals have imposed themsleves on the way I view my moral world. So rules like 'Be good to your parents' and 'Don't sleep with other girls' boyfriends' (my wording, not Theirs) have rung in my ears as I've travelled through life, guiding my actions, imposing limitations, and warning me of eternal consequence if I step out of line. Ooooooh!

And in my limited imaginings on the subject, I've envisioned hell as a place that is steaming hot, full of mosquitoes and cockroaches and people talking about real estate and renovations, all set to an unbearable soundtrack of The Cat Empire and The Veronicas...

But the description in this song by those delightful songsters, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, inspires me to throw the last of my morals out the window and embrace the hypothetical prospect of a subterranean eternity!

from Satan Said Dance;

...and I know it is not how you thought it would be,
no whips no chains, just dancing, dancing, dancing,

dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing,

dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing,

Can you see it now? Me, Elvis, Mae West, Steve McQueen, Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde, hitting the disco-lit dance floor of morality and carving it up! Epic.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Shark Alarm

May paddles into a wave and slides away. The waves are long and clean and small and fun and she's already 50 metres down the line when I turn back to the ocean.

The water is clear and I let myself roll off my board, floating under the surface and looking back up at the light refracting it's way down to me. I swim up and breathe and climb on my board.

I sit and float and enjoy the sun - the waves are fun, but the wait between sets is longer than I'd like. There's a few crew out, and it's mellow.

As I watch the water a black mass of mullet heads towards me, magnified through the swollen water. Urgh. They pass under my board and seem to stop, hovering. Al is near me,

'You know what follows fish don't ya? Someone's gonna get bitten soon I reckon.'

He paddles further out and I pull my limbs up onto my board, sitting like a child with my legs stretched in front of me. I will the fish to move along...

Everyone knows Old Whitey hangs between here and the Cape. There's been several separate attacks over summer - not good for tourism. But what do you do? Friends of mine snorkel between the Cape and here every Saturday. They swim out to the the reefs to chase turtles and leopard sharks. They go so far out they need to take a buoy with them so the boats know where they are! But the fisherman have warned them to stay out of the water for a few weeks and my friends have paid attention as these guys don't tend towards hysteria.

Sharks have been a constant topic of conversation in the town for the past 18 months and stories have been flying about from all directions...

"It was so big he paddled straight in and collapsed on the beach crying!"

"...rolled over and looked straight at me as he swam under me board..."

"It played with her off the rocks for ages before it let her go and she could swim the 300 metres back to her friends."

"....he told the young fella to stay behind him and lined up with the animal and paddled towards it, like he was gonna attack it himself. Saved them both I reckon."

Stories old and new, true and not-so-true. Stories to inspire fear and keep you out of the water. But not so many stories about actually being attacked.

May comes back out.

'Al reckons there's a shark around.'

The words fall out of her mouth as something very large and dark sweeps underneath us in the direction of the fish. We look at each other.


'That wasn't a dolphin.'

'Why do they have to look so much alike? Fuck.'

Al yells at us,
'Youse'll be right. Don't worry about it.'

An attack of any kind in my town is not so good for business. A tourist town that sells itself by promoting the beautiful, protected beaches that frame the area would not benefit from any kind of attack on a swimmer. Which, to my recollection, there has never been. On surfers, divers and kayakers, yes, but on swimmers, no. So we're looking good. But the feeling is that if there is an attack, then there would have to be something done about it. Like last time.

The last fatal attack in my town was in 15 years ago when a honeymooning couple was scuba diving. To cut a long story short, he was taken and never seen again. Until local fisherman tracked the shark down, caught it and it regurgitated his body. Recently one local surf legend is reputed to have offered to go and catch the biggun' that keeps getting sighted off the Cape. His reputed offer was not taken up, but I wonder if it might be, should something happen that affected the town's tourist image?

I heard a report on the radio this morning about The Attack down in Sydney over the weekend. The reporter claimed that people were saying the Government should do more to protect swimmers. What a crock! What exactly are these people proposing Kevin and co. do? Redefine the War Against Terror to include man-eating beasts? Fence off the ocean into People and Non-people sections? Kill all sharks by allowing vigilante shark patrols that then string the animals up and allow us to revel in our own kings-of-the-world status? Get a grip.

Everywhere I go at the moment, everywhere I look, people are talking about sharks, posting pictures of sharks, showing footage of sharks and generally obsessing. I just went and got a coffee here in Brisbane and everyone there was talking about sharks. In Brisbane!!

They're there. They cruise. They have teeth. In an unarmed, underwater fight between a shark and a person, it's likely that the person wouldn't win, so yeah, they're frightening. And me no likey. But they're a part of ocean life.

May looks at me,

'Do you wanna go in?'

'Nah. Al reckons it's ok, and no-one else is going in.'

I push my fears to the back of my mind (where they probably belong), but I keep my legs up on my board for a little bit longer...